The beginning of the end to partisan gerrymandering

America was founded on the democratic principles of equality, freedom and justice. However, the practice of gerrymandering – particularly partisan gerrymandering – is denying voters equal representation and ultimately limiting our democracy.

Gerrymandering is not a partisan issue, it is a systematic failure that both parties are guilty of perpetuating. This unconstitutional practice has undermined our democratic system, allowing politicians to pick their voters, versus the other way around, resulting in politicians who are unresponsive to their constituents. This is limiting the people’s right to choose their representatives.

North Carolina in particular has been a hotbed of court cases involving both racial and partisan gerrymandering offenses. One such case, Common Cause v. Rucho, went to trial Monday at a federal courthouse in Greensboro. That lawsuit has the potential to result in a landmark decision to end partisan gerrymandering. Continue reading

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A big month in the fight to end gerrymandering

This October is shaping up to be a pivotal month in the effort to finally end gerrymandering in North Carolina and across the nation.

Last week, the US Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Gill v. Whitford, a case coming out of Wisconsin that challenges partisan gerrymandering.

And a week from today, the case of Common Cause v. Rucho challenging partisan gerrymandering in North Carolina will go to trial at a federal courthouse in Greensboro. Continue reading

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It’s time for NC to join the growing trend of online voter registration

North Carolina is a hub of companies on the cutting edge of digital technology, but the state still lags behind the rest of the nation when it comes to applying that technology to key aspects of our voting process.

The Tar Heel State has made some moves toward modernization, however. Last year, the state DMV launched a new system allowing residents to securely update their voter registration online when making changes to their driver’s licenses and other DMV records.

Allowing voters who are already registered to use online tools to make updates to their registration is a positive step for North Carolina. The next step would be to join the majority of states that now allow citizens to register to vote online. Continue reading

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Redistricting committee falls short on public hearing for new legislative maps

UPDATE: A seventh hearing location has been added today, an improvement, but still far short of the number of locations that should be made available to concerned citizens. See the list here.

The Joint House and Senate Redistricting Committee on Wednesday released a list of locations for Tuesday’s public hearing on new legislative maps.

The following is a statement from Bob Phillips, executive director of Common Cause NC, in response to that announcement by the committee.

“The locations chosen by the redistricting committee’s leadership leave out large sections of the state that will likely be directly impacted by this latest redistricting, including most of eastern North Carolina. Having just one hearing location east of Raleigh makes participation unduly burdensome for concerned citizens in that region. Continue reading

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Bob Havely, longtime political & nonprofit consultant in NC, passes away

From Bob Phillips, executive director of Common Cause NC:

“We are very saddened by the passing of Bob Havely, a well-respected political and nonprofit consultant in North Carolina.

From serving in the White House, to working as director of government relations at Duke University and advising a wide variety of elected officials, candidates and nonprofit organizations, Bob dedicated his life to the democratic process and education in our state.

We are humbled and profoundly grateful to Bob for his wish that contributions be made in his memory to Common Cause North Carolina and our effort to strengthen democracy.  You can make a tax-deductible contribution in Bob’s memory here.

And we invite you to learn more about Bob’s years of dedicated service in North Carolina. ”

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The move to criminalize protests is a threat to democracy

At the recent People’s Hearing on Fair Redistricting held at the legislature, my mother had to really take into consideration where she sat.

I don’t mean she was overly concerned about the direct-viewing angle, or closeness to the speaker queue. She is one of the 30-some citizens who is banned from the NC Legislative Building – seemingly indefinitely – by Wake County Magistrate Jeffrey Godwin as part of their conditional release from detainment. Continue reading

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A call for fair maps from Greensboro

As the years have gone on, state legislatures across the country have heightened their destructive gerrymandering practices.

With calculated precision, maps have been drawn to undercut the political power of minorities, safe-zone incumbents and decrease competitiveness in elections. Lawsuits and court rulings have become commonplace as legislatures have refused to draw fair maps that allow for the equal representation of constituents. Continue reading

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Partisan gerrymandering deprives voters of a voice in elections

This week I would like to talk about my home district, NC Congressional District 10, and how gerrymandering has produced an unfair partisan advantage there.

Although I have only recently obtained the privilege to study, live and work in Raleigh for the past year at NC State, most of my time as a North Carolinian has been spent as a resident of Lincoln County. This is a relatively small county with about 80,000 residents located west of Charlotte in Congressional District 10. Continue reading

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US Supreme Court agrees to hear potentially landmark case on partisan gerrymandering

The US Supreme Court on Monday agreed to hear a lawsuit from Wisconsin challenging the constitutionality of partisan gerrymandering. The case could be crucial to finally ending gerrymandering across the nation.

That’s because while various court rulings have made it clear that racial gerrymandering is unconstitutional, the US Supreme Court has not yet made a decisive ruling on the constitutionality of partisan gerrymandering.

As such, partisan gerrymandering has been seen as the last refuge of politicians who want to manipulate voting maps at the expense of fair and competitive elections. Continue reading

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Susan B. Anthony and the crime of voting

It was 144 years ago today – June 18, 1873 – that Susan B. Anthony was convicted of breaking the law.

Her crime: voting in the 1872 presidential election. Continue reading

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